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The Business Innovation Fund is designed to help businesses progress research and development (R&D) activity leading to the creation of novel/new products, processes and/or services. Grant funding is available to help with this, which can be applied for via competitive application rounds.

The round 5 application window for grant funding is currently open. Please find the Grant Guidance below, plus a link to start your application.

The deadline to apply is 12.00 (midday) Thursday 20th June 2024, which is an extension from the original 23rd May 2024 deadline.

How much will I get?

Businesses can apply for grant funding to cover a percentage of their projects costs. The remaining must be provided by the applicant business. Further details can be found in the grant guidance available for each application round.

Grant funding is paid on defrayal, which means if you are awarded support, you must spend money first before making a claim to us. You must therefore be in a position to cashflow your project to completion. Projects should aim to complete within 12 months of being awarded funding.

What can I use the funding for?

The Business Innovation Fund supports SMEs to progress experimental development R&D, which means acquiring, combining, shaping and using existing scientific, technological, business and other relevant knowledge and skills with the aim of creating novel/new products, processes or services. It does not mean routine or periodic changes made to existing products, processes or services.

Eligible spend in pursuit of experimental R&D must be against: gross employment costs, materials costs, capital usage costs, sub contract costs, travel and subsistence and other direct project costs.
More detail on eligible costs is available in the grant guidance.

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Who is eligible?

Your business is eligible if you are:

  • Compass icon Based in the West of England Combined Authority area – Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, or South Gloucestershire
  • Hand holding £ icon Able to provide match funding towards the cost of the project
  • Group of people icon You're a small or medium sized business with a fewer than 250 staff, turnover of maximum £36 million, and balance sheet of maximum £18 million

We are able to fund SMEs from any sector, although those from the following, aligning with our regional innovation cluster strengths and as described in our Plan for Innovation 2024-2029, are particularly encouraged to apply:

  • Immersive Creative
  • Advanced Engineering
  • Health Sciences
  • Sustainable Fintech

We are also keen to support SMEs that are contributing to our transition to net zero and equality, diversity and inclusion.

Between 2020-2023 the Business Innovation Fund was supported with £1,451,825 of funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), which was part of the European Structural and Investment Funds 2014-2020. The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) was the Managing Authority for ERDF. Established by the European Union, the ERDF helped local areas stimulate economic development by investing in projects that supported innovation, business growth, job creation and community regeneration.

The Business Innovation Fund successfully supported 50 SMEs to progress research and development (R&D) activity over this period.